While traveling with a credit card is convenient for most people, mainly because it’s quick, convenient, and can save one from the trouble of keeping cash on-hand; using it frequently, most especially during travel, might put you in debt. You don’t want to spend the rest of your trip thinking about the jacked-up interest rate that you have to pay. And what if you don’t have one?
Forget about the myth that nothing will work better except a credit card when it comes to traveling. Planning your trip to Japan and enjoying its tranquil sceneries should not be a hassle. And in case you’re still buying the myth, here’s a rundown of the tips on how you can explore Japan with no credit card:
- BOOK YOUR AIRLINE TICKET IN ADVANCE
Buying your airline ticket at the right time can help you save some serious cash and take away the temptation of using your credit card to borrow some money for an expensive ticket. A study made by CheapAir.com suggests that when planning for an international travel, like flying to Japan, you should book your flight 335 days in advance.
Flexibility is the key. A day earlier or a day later can have a great impact on the cost of the tickets by hundreds of dollars. Prices tend to go up 90 days before the flight date, so make sure you get the best deal by checking fares early and often. And when you see a great deal, don’t wait but grab it. A good deal is much more likely to go up than down.
- PAY YOUR AIRLINE TICKET ONLINE OR AT THE AIRPORT’S TICKET DESKS
When paying for your airline ticket online, it is much better to use your debit card. There’s nothing to worry about additional charges because the money you use is your money and not the bank’s.
However, while buying airline tickets online can save you from hassle, purchasing them at the airport’s ticket desks or offices can help you save some dollars. But only do this when booking in advance. Last minute flights, whether online or not can cost you big time and cause some hassle.
Getting the best deals; when flying to Japan and anywhere around the globe is a wise plan than maxing out your credit card’s limit or spending too much of your penny. After all, you can add the money you saved to your budget.
- DO YOUR RESEARCH
The first rule in exploring other countries is to make sure you know the important details. Aside from the top destinations to go to or the best cuisines to eat, make sure that you are knowledgeable of the payment options.
In Japan, cash is the number one option and the most convenient way to pay. Most shops do not accept credit or debit card so don’t be surprised to see the Japanese keeping tens of thousands of yen in their wallet. Debit card or “cash card”, as what it is usually called in Japan, is only used to withdraw money from the ATM or when signing a contract to authorize scheduled payments such as phone or internet billing. The same with the debit card, a credit card is usually not accepted for making payments.
- WARN YOUR BANKS
Before traveling, make sure to tell your banks that you’ll be flying to Japan. This can help you ensure that you can use your debit cards and can take out some yen whenever you need it.
- GET YOUR YEN BEFORE YOU GO
To avoid the hassle of exchanging currency when arriving in Japan, obtain some local Japanese yen from your local bank before your flight. Though you cannot guarantee that you will get the best rate, it’s still better to be prepared than sorry.
However, if you arrive in Japan without yen, you can always easily exchange currency or withdraw from the foreign-friendly ATM’s in the airport so you would have enough to carry you through your first few days in Japan.
Some banks and hotels in Japan can exchange currency but it’s not that easy to find them unlike in many other countries. So if you need to replenish and withdraw your yen, go to the nearest 7-Eleven conbini or convenience store where the foreign-friendly The Seven Bank ATM’s are located.
- MAKE A BUDGET PLAN AND STICK TO IT
Planning your expenses before going on a trip is a must for every traveler. Doing this, you can monitor your expenses and prevent you from spending too much of what you have.
Budgeting varies from person to person depending on one’s spending and shopping habits. But a good budget plan should make you worry-free from incurring charges (especially when using a credit card) and helps you enjoy more of your time of stay in Japan.
But how expensive is Japan?
Japan is not as expensive as what you think. It is generally cheaper than places like Singapore, the United Kingdom, and Australia. While prices might slightly be higher in Tokyo than elsewhere, you can tailor your experience to your budget.
Some of your favorite Japanese meals end up costing under ¥ 1000 ($ 9). Here is a list to help you get an idea of how much getting around Japan will cost:
– SUSHIRO (sushi): ¥ 100 (less than $ 1)
– AFURI (ramen): ¥ 880 ($ 8)
– AND THE FRIET (fries): ¥ 500 ($ 5)
– CURRY UP (curry): ¥ 800 ($ 7) for small serving
– FUJIYA HONTEN (bar): ¥ 450 ($ 4) beer
– GINDACO (takoyaki): ¥ 450 ($ 4) 6 balls
– ISARI JUHACHIBAN: ¥ 500 ($ 5)
– KANDA YABU SOBA: ¥ 670 ($ 6)
– KANEKO HAN’NOSUKE: ¥ 120 ($ 1) soup, ¥ 880 ($ 8) food, ¥ 500 ($ 5) beer, ¥ 150 ($ 2) soft drinks
– MIMOSA (café): ¥ 980 ($ 9)
– SUBWAY TICKET: ¥ 170 – ¥ 310 ($ 2 – $3) depending on the distance
– BUS: ¥ 180 – ¥ 210 ($ 2) Toie bus and Sightseeing bus, ¥ 3500 ($ 31) SKY BUS
– TAXI: ¥ 400 – ¥ 700 ($ 4 -$ 6) standard four-passenger
ENTRANCE FEE AND TICKETS:
– TEMPLE OR SHRINE: ¥ 300 – ¥ 500 ($ 3 – $5) sometimes FREE
– MUSEUMS: ¥ 1000 – ¥ 2000 ($ 9 – $18) sometimes FREE
ACCOMODATIONS (PER NIGHT):
– BUDGET RYOKAN: ¥ 50 – ¥ 100 ($ 1)
– MID-RANGE RYOKAN: ¥ 150 – ¥ 250 ($ 2)
– LUXURY RYOKAN: ¥ 300 – ¥ 600 ($ 3 – $ 6)
Getting around Japan is not that expensive. For less than ¥ 1000 ($ 9), you can find a great variety of best and even cheap deals. Try Japan’s street foods and izakaya, take advantage of exploring parks and destinations that do not require fees, or go shopping! You don’t have to spend so much because there are plenty of fun and budget-friendly shops for cheap clothes, accessories, and souvenirs for both men and women in Japan. But of course, if your budget permits then why not go to the finest restaurants and coolest destinations and shop to your heart’s content.
The secret to traveling with no credit card is preparation and discipline. Prepare and save enough cash when you’re planning to travel and discipline yourself to never rely on the power of your credit card. While credit cards are best for quick and hassle-free transactions, it is still better to use your own money than borrowing from someone else.